Miami-Dade County is a county located in the southeastern part of the state of Florida. As of the 2000 U.S. census, the population was 2,253,362, making it the most populated county in the state. Its county seat is Miami, located in the northeastern part.
Miami-Dade County is one of three counties that comprise the South Florida metropolitan area.
Dade County was created in 1836. It was named for Major Francis L. Dade, a soldier killed in 1835 in the Second Seminole War, at what has since been named the Dade Battlefield. The name was changed to Miami-Dade County in 1997 after being approved by voters.
The costliest natural disaster to occur in the United States was the disastrous Hurricane Andrew, which hit this county early Monday morning on August 24, 1992. It struck the central part of the county from due east, south of Miami and very near Homestead, Kendall, and Cutler Ridge. Damages numbered over 25 billion dollars in the county alone, and recovery has taken years in these areas where the destruction was greatest.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 6,297 km2 (2,431 mi2). 5,040 km2 (1,946 mi2) of it is land and 1,257 km2 (485 mi2) of it is water. The total area is 19.96% water, most of which is Biscayne Bay.
The bay is divided from the Atlantic Ocean by the many barrier isles along the coast, one of which is where well-known Miami Beach is located, along with the South Beach Art Deco district. Geologically, it is part of the Florida Keys, which are accessible only through Miami-Dade County, but which are otherwise part of neighboring Monroe County.
Miami is the only metropolitan area in the United States that borders two national parks. Biscayne National Park is located east of the mainland, in Biscayne Bay, and the western third of Miami-Dade County lies within Everglades National Park.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 2,253,362 people, 776,774 households, and 548,402 families residing in the county. The population density is 447/km2 (1,158/mi2). There are 852,278 housing units at an average density of 169/km2 (438/mi2). The racial makeup of the county is 69.70% White, 20.29% Black or African American (a large part of which are of Caribbean descent), 0.19% Native American, 1.41% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 4.58% from other races, and 3.79% from two or more races. 57.32% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race. Non-Hispanic whites make up 20.67% of the population.
There are 776,774 households out of which 33.80% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.70% are married couples living together, 17.20% have a female householder with no husband present, and 29.40% are non-families. 23.30% of all households are made up of individuals and 8.60% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.84 and the average family size is 3.35.
The age distribution is 24.80% under the age of 18, 9.10% from 18 to 24, 31.00% from 25 to 44, 21.70% from 45 to 64, and 13.30% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females there are 93.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.20 males.
The median income for a household in the county is $35,966, and the median income for a family is $40,260. Males have a median income of $30,120 versus $24,686 for females. The per capita income for the county is $18,497. 18.00% of the population and 14.50% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 22.90% of those under the age of 18 and 18.90% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
Law and Government
Miami-Dade County has operated under a unique metropolitan system of government, a "two-tier federation," since 1957. This was made possible when Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1956 that allowed the people of Dade County (as it was known then) to enact a home rule charter. Prior to this year, home rule did not exist in Florida, and counties were only able to exercise those powers specifically granted to them under the state constitution and state law. Local laws could only be enacted by a special act of the Legislature.
Federation, not total consolidation
Unlike a consolidated city-county, where the city and county governments merge into a single entity, these two entities remain separate. Instead there are two "tiers", or levels, of government: city and county. There are 33 municipalites in the county, the City of Miami being the largest.
Cities are the "lower tier" of local government, providing police and fire protection, zoning and code enforcement, and other typical city services within their jurisdiction. These services are paid for by city taxes. The County is the "upper tier", and it provides services of a metropolitan nature, such as emergency management, airport and seaport operations, public housing and health care services, transportation, etc. These are funded by county taxes, which are assessed on all incorporated and unincorporated areas.
Of the county's 2.2 million total residents (as of 2000), approximately 52% live in unincorporated areas, the majority of which are heavily urbanized. These residents are part of the Unincorporated Municipal Services Area (UMSA). For these residents, the County fills the role of both lower- and upper-tier government, the County Commission acting as their lower-tier municipal representative body. Residents within UMSA pay an UMSA tax, equivalent to a city tax, which is used to provide County residents with equivalent city services (police, fire, zoning, water and sewer, etc.). Residents of incorporated areas do not pay UMSA tax.
Structure of county government
The Executive Mayor of Miami-Dade County is elected countywide to serve a four-year term. The Mayor is not a member of the County Commission. The Mayor appoints a County Manager, with approval and consent of the Board of County Commissioners, to oversee the operations of the County Departments. The Mayor has veto power over the Commission.
The Board of County Commissioners is the legislative body, consisting of 13 members elected from single-member districts. Members are elected to serve four-year terms, and elections of members are staggered. The Board chooses a Chairperson, who presides over the Commission, as well as appoints the members of its legislative committees. The Board has a wide array of powers to enact legislation, create departments, and regulate businesses operating within the County. It also has the power to override the Mayor's veto with a two-thirds vote.
Reorganization of constitutional officers
Florida's Constitution provides for four elected officials to oversee executive and administrative functions for each county (called "Constitutional Officers"): Sheriff, Property Appraiser, Supervisor of Elections, and Tax Collector. Each of these offices were reorganized and became subordinate County Departments. Today these positions are appointed by and report to the County Manager.
The most visible distinction between Miami-Dade and other Florida counties is the title of its law enforcement agency. It is the only county in Florida that does not have an elected sheriff, or an agency titled "Sheriff's Office." Instead the equivalent agency is known as the Miami-Dade Police Department, and its leader is known as the Director of the Miami-Dade Police Department.
Independent judiciary and school district
The judicial offices of Clerk of the Circuit Court, State Attorney, and Public Defender are still branches of State government and are therefore independently elected and not part of County government.
In Florida, each county is also a school district. Miami-Dade County Public Schools, is operated by an independently-elected School Board. A professional Superintendent of Schools manages the day-to-day operations of the district, who is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the School Board.
Cities, towns, villages, and unincorporated communities
City Districts and Neighborhoods (and recently annexed census-designated places)
Unincorporated areas and census-designated places
- Allapattah Library
- Civic Center Library
- Coconut Grove Library
- Concord Library
- Coral Gables Library
- Coral Reef Library
- Country Walk Library
- Culmer / Overtown Library
- Doral Library
- Edison Center Library
- Fairlawn Library
- Grapeland Heights Library
- Hialeah Gardens Library
- Hispanic Library
- Homestead Library
- Kendall Library
- Key Biscayne Library
- Lakes of the Meadow Library
- Lemon City Library
- Little River Library
- Main Library
- Miami Beach Library
- Miami Lakes Library
- Miami Springs Library
- Model City Library
- Naranja Library
- North Dade Regional Library
- North Central Library
- North Shore Library
- Northeast Library
- Palm Springs North Library
- South Dade Regional Library
- Shenandoah Library
- South Miami Library
- South Shore Library
- Tamiami Library
- West Dade Regional Library
- West Flagler Library
- West Kendall Regional Library
- Miami-Dade County Government (http://www.miamidade.gov/)
County Departments and Agencies
- Miami-Dade County Public Schools (http://www.dadeschools.net/) site of nation's 4th largest school district
- South Florida Water Management District (http://www.sfwmd.gov)
- Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts (http://www.miami-dadeclerk.com)
- Miami-Dade Public Defender, 11th Judicial Circuit (http://www.pdmiami.com/)
- Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, 11th Judicial Circuit (http://www.miamisao.com)
- Circuit and County Court, 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida (http://jud11.flcourts.org/)
- Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (http://www.gmcvb.com)